Todd Muller gets crushed | The Jackal

24 Jun 2021

Todd Muller gets crushed

What a complete catastrophe for the National Party. Not only did the public learn on Wednesday about Harete Hipango’s alleged dishonesty, the source of that information is none other than National MP and once Party leader, Todd Muller.

Talk about a bad case of friendly fire gone wrong.

Their current leader Judith Collins hasn't handled things very well either, and is lucky that people are somewhat distracted by the Covid-19 outbreak in Wellington at the moment. National is also lucky to have most of the mainstream media on their side, because if Harete Hipango was a Labour MP she would be hounded out of Parliament.

Yesterday, Newshub reported:

National MP Todd Muller resigned after leaking against Harete Hipango to journalist

Newshub can reveal National MP Todd Muller stood down after admitting to badmouthing his colleague Harete Hipango to a journalist - and being quoted. 

The former National leader announced on Wednesday he would be retiring at the 2023 election after apologising for his actions to his caucus. 

Muller has decided he'll move on from Parliament - but not just yet. National leader Judith Collins said he's "committed to be the MP and he wants to finish his term".

That’s because National would likely lose a by-election in the Bay of Plenty at the moment. So woeful are their numbers that Collins obviously doesn’t want to risk even more headlines about their lack of support. However this compromise could also be a bad decision, being that Muller may just work against Collins’ cabal over the next couple of years.

His leader is neither enthused nor amused about the news.

"It's not up to me, is it?" she said, when asked if she'd prefer Muller to go before the election. 

Newshub has been told the National caucus met on Tuesday night, and despite Collins being tight lipped about what was discussed, a source told Newshub the meeting was called to call out Muller for leaking.

There’s no question that Crusher demanded Muller’s resignation for leaking against Harete Hipango. The claim that the once National Party leader is leaving for family and health reasons holds about as much water as his claim that he wasn’t vying for the top position in 2020.

What this displays isn’t just how dishonest and cut throat National is, it shows that Collins has a much lower standard of accountability than one of her predecessors, John Key. When former National MP Claudette Hauiti was caught misusing her Parliamentary Services Card, she was unceremoniously made to resign.

You would think that the similarities between Hauiti and Hipango’s indiscretions should mean they’re treated the same. After all, it’s all taxpayer money they’re misusing. But instead of ensuring Parliament isn’t brought into disrepute again, National's morally bankrupt leader has fired the whistle-blower instead.

So what is Collins’ excuse for her MPs abuse of the Parliamentary Expense Account? She reckons it’s just a coding error of all things. Of course this is bullshit! Hipango would have known that using the Parliamentary Expense Account to purchase things like TV’s and couches for her own house was against the rules. Otherwise we must surmise that she’s a complete moron! 

A story emerged about her colleagues calling her a liability and not a team player. 

On Wednesday another story emerged about a National MP alleged to have inappropriately spent taxpayer money on furniture and a TV. Collins says it was all a coding error and outed Hipango as the furniture MP.

"Harete Hipango has asked me to state that she is the person that is the subject of that story," Collins told reporters. 

Newshub put the leaking allegations to Muller. He said he wasn't accused of "leaking" and did not "leak" but that he had made an anonymous comment about Hipango to a journalist that was subsequently quoted, and on Tuesday he admitted to this and apologised to both the leader and the caucus at the meeting.

It's a tumultuous end, much like Muller's tumultuous 53-day reign as leader.

It’s like the blue “team” is disintegrating right before our eyes. Not only do we have another National Party MP exploiting her position of power to line her own nest, we also learn that Judith Collins has an even lower standard of accountability than any previous National Party leader ever.

If this kind of infighting continues, there won't be much of National left for right-wingers to vote for in 2023.